Swimming Lesson

When I was fifteen, I had an opportunity to teach swimming lessons.  It was a 3 week program, through our town's Recreation Department.   School buses transported us to the city,closest to us.   I was told, it was a volunteer program.  We could have time to swim, after teaching the program.  I loved swimming...  This city had an outdoor pool at their park and indoor high school pool for their swim team.  My high school didn't have either.  I was thrilled, but really had no clue what I signed up for.   I remember the first day, vividly.  Children ages 4  and up.   We were giving a brief class on how to instruct, what to do, what not to do.   Remember this is suppose to be fun, safety first, etc.  A blur of hot pink, lime green, neon orange and blue stripes approached, lots of loud laughter  the smell of chlorine and humidity filled the air.  I had 5 children, a brother n' sister, ages 7 and 4, a tall girl, about 10, a lively jumping bean boy, 9 and a older child, that assured me, she could swim, but wanted to learn to float.   The parents had signed them up and listed their swimming skills or lack of.    I was kicked, pinched and poked the first day, was it really worth, the 20-30 of free time to swim?  I wondered what had I done; I continued on and grew to love the lessons and the kids.

  I was given a clipboard, it listed what each child had to learn to advance to the next level.  I had a hovering Dad, he was the father to the brother n' sister.   The boy was anxious and loved the water.  The girl, didn't want to do anything, but sit on the side of the pool and kick.   Every day, one of the assistants to the Rec. Director,would give me the look.  Later on, I was told, you have to get her in the water.   I knew this, but I also had talked to the Dad.  I had tried...   He was a widower, the children missed their Mother and his little girl, had not always been this shy.    I decided for the only way for this to work was for her to see how much fun it was.  See, what she was missing.  I would have the kids be a group, for 10min.  We would practice kicking and splashing, seated on the edge of the pool, before their solo lessons.   I had those willing to get in the pool hang on and practice kicking under the water, like mermaids and fish.    I showed them what to do, if they had water in their eyes, etc.   Every day, one of the other instructors would come by and try to take her, thinking maybe it was me.  Every day, she said, "No".   Day 5, I asked her if she was ready to have fun, be like a mermaid and she hugged me and we went in the pool.  There wasn't any kicking.  Just her and I, gliding in the water, bouncing her up and down, having fun.   Later, I was given a lot of kudos, for my efforts.   I didn't push or grab her; she felt comfortable with me.   She was swimming, by the end of the lessons.   It amazes me,  how some of us need a shove, a push and others, don't thrive in this time of environment.   We need encouragement, a bit of time to breath and decide, when it is time for us to begin.    Perhaps, some of us need a bit of both....  I think I come from the both camp, but , prefer not to be shoved.  I tend to do better with kind gestures.

I recently opened an Etsy store, I am treading in unfamiliar waters; I needed to get in the pool.  I had sat pool side, to long.  I was fearful, but also filled with joy that I finally began...    What methods work for you, when it comes to jumping in and taking the plunge?!


I taught my son how to get in the water and not be scared at 3 months... He love the water like an otter...I like again your juxdiposition of treading water... unfamiliar water and your etsy store... I take baby steps usually but sometimes I just JUMP in.... Blogging I JUMPED IN.. my party buisness baby steps
DID YOU TAKE THAT Sunflower picture.. IT IS MY FAVORITE>>>I want to frame it... I was so insulted tonight... Have to tell you what happened in an email..
take care.
Ellie said…
Hi Lisa,
Yes, I took it around 5pm this afternoon. I had gone to the little store and town and saw them in the field. I drove home with pizza and grabbed camera and went back, to snap the pic. I have others. I will email you~

I also Jumped into blogging; I was partof the Year of Color blog, they were having a Halloween challenge and only people with blogs could swap. I jumped in~
Not being a swimmer myself it is somerhing I have always regretted not being able to do.

Loved the post lovely to read.
Alesa Warcan said…
This is a lovely story! And the lesson you've drawn from it is wonderful as well.
Nicely done! :j
Watery Tart said…
Ellie-I love this story of someone who needed a gentle coaxing.

I have a few writer friends like this--who love it--who have a story in them, but are really intimidated to even GET IN. I think it helps to have fun, 'almost' activities to let them get a little wet and see it isn't so bad.
Holly said…
I am amazed at the patience of the swim instructors.

I love the way your turned this around and made it about your etsy store...congrats!
Erin said…
WHat a great story and metaphor. I'm glad you are jumping into Etsy--I love Etsy! Will have to check out your shop.

THank you so much for stopping by my place and commenting. I'm your newest follower!

you just always have to believe in yourself, and always bear in mind that we live only once so you must try and experience everything you can and use all of the opportunities that come by.
Kolleen said…

you opened up a store....that is so great and so inspiring!!!

i love this story and i loved even more that you took the time with this sweet little girl. you were patient and able to figure out what kind of "nudging" she needed. that is a gift.

i, too, am like you. a "both" kind of person.

heading to check out your shop right now and CONGRATS on jumping in. i am inspired by you!!

Jennifer said…
Congratulations on opening up your etsy shop. I am so proud of you!! You slide into the pool yourself and now you are learning how to swim.

I love this story that you shared. How wonderful of you to take this time with this little girl. You did so much for her, I am sure. Something she truly needed.

I, too need a little bit of both. The encouraging words help guide me but sometimes I need the push.

Sending you a great big hug.


p.s. I love your header photo. What an incredible shot of that sunflower. So awesome!!
Wonderful on the ETSY store, Ella. I looked at the mini pouch (not enough $$). Your new header rocks. You'll make it. I know it. xx's
Becky Shander said…
Your banner is especially gorgeous today...so big, bright and beautiful.

And it's fantastic that you decided to take the plunge...keep stroking away!